A mind free from all disturbances is Yoga.
— The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

In order to still the mind it is first necessary to bring awareness to the breath and to make the body healthy by practicing the physical postures. You may also experience the following in our classes: pranayama (breathing exercises), chanting, kriyas (cleansing exercises) and hands on assists. We will also remind you to practice bandhas (internal awareness of the core), concentration and meditation.

The following concepts are what constitute the Ashtanga Philosophy. You have read about some of them in this paragraph, they are described in more detail below.


The ashtanga (8 limb) philosophy

1. Yama –  discipline of actions or ethics; restraints - Sutra II.30
o practice the yamas is known as the Great Vow... - Sutra II.31                

  • Ahimsa: non-harming - Sutra II.35
  • Satya: truthfulness - Sutra II.36
  • Asteya: non-stealing - Sutra II.37
  • Brahmacharya: moderation in all you do - Sutra II.38
  • Aparigraha: non-attachment - Sutra II.38

2. Niyama – discipline of self; observances - Sutra II.32
When conflict arises when trying to practice… - Sutra II.32-34

  • Saucha: purity; cleanliness - Sutra II.40-41
  • Santosha: contentment; acceptance - Sutra II.42
  • Tapas: to burn; purification through self-discipline - Sutra II.43
  • Svadhyaya: study of the self - Sutra II.44
  • Ishvarapranidhana: self-surrender; devotion to something higher than yourself - Sutra II.45                           

3. Asana – discipline of self; physical postures - Sutra II.46-48                             

4. Pranayama – discipline of energy/breath - Sutra II.49-51
Once Asana and Pranayama are achieved… - Sutra II.52-53

5. Pratyahara – discipline of senses; sense withdrawal - Sutra II.54-55

6. Dharana – concentration; learning to focus on one object - Sutra III.1

7. Dhyana – meditation; continuous flow of thoughts toward one object - Sutra III.2

8. Samadhi – direct knowledge, free from the distortions of the imagination - Sutra III.3